Minister of Health promotes the benefits of National Health Insurance at the University of Pretoria
By Sanku Tsuke
Posted on 22 August 2012
From left to right: Gauteng MEC for Health, Hope Papo; Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi; and the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria, Prof Eric Buch.
The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, visited the University of Pretoria as part of his campaign to explain the importance and relevance of the Government's new health plan: the National Health Insurance (NHI). The aim of the NHI is to make South Africa's healthcare system accessible to everyone, including the poorest segment of the population.
Over the past few weeks Minister Motsoaledi has addressed different constituencies and visited pilot districts where the NHI project will be launched. At the University of Pretoria, he spoke before more than 200 school principals, teachers and School Governing Body committee members from the Tshwane district. Some of the project activities to be undertaken in the pilot districts concern school health.
The South African Government has published a plan for the NHI that is intended to provide a good healthcare service by sharing the available funds among all citizens.
Minister Motsoaledi criticised the current healthcare system as having been designed for the privileged few. With the NHI, received health benefits will depend on the patient's illness – not on how wealthy he/she is. Hospitals, clinics, doctors, specialists, dentists, nurses and all other health workers will therefore be equally accessible to the whole population.
Minister Motsoaledi said the introduction of the NHI supports the main goal and objective of the World Health Organisation (WHO), namely ‘the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health’.
He further stated that the NHI conforms to the consensus reached by the international community at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, which strives to achieve eight critical economic and social development priorities by 2015.
The South African Department of Health has made significant strides in reaching the eight Millennium Goals. The introduction of the NHI will help tackle several of these goals, which include reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Minister Motsoaledi said South Africans need better value for healthcare. The already heavy burden on high income earners has been further exacerbated by skyrocketing medical costs in recent years. Working people spend a large part of their salary on medical aid, which often causes financial difficulties.
According to the Minister the NHI will reduce the cost of private healthcare and still provide a good income for health professionals and health institutions in the private sector. It will also employ a more cost-effective method of payment compared to current medical aid schemes.
How will NHI work?
The NHI Fund will provide financial assistance for healthcare but will not manage hospitals, clinics or the practices of GPs, dentists, specialists and other health professionals. The NHI Fund will, however, enter into contracts with public and private hospitals, specialists, public clinics and private GP practices to deliver free health services to all South African citizens and legal residents.
The NHI Fund will provide financial assistance only to health facilities that meet the required quality standards as set out by the Office for Health Standards Compliance.